Monday, 5 September 2011

Frugal Pops

by Danelle @ MyTotalPerspectiveVortex

This summer, before I started canning up any fruit, I did what one of you all suggested. I took stock of my pantry to see what we used and what we still have a lot of. Well, we had a lot of peach sauce and canned peaches. It seems, I hoarded it as precious until it was canning season for peaches all over again.


So while contemplating the situation I ran to the grocery store for juice and snack food and stopped in the frozen treat aisle. Hmmmmm, natural Popsicles are really hard to find and expensive. Why? It's just frozen juice and puree?

Light bulb moment.

So to copy my favourite brand I grabbed a few extra things, like a whole pineapple and coconut milk, and headed home with a mission.

My goal was to mimic these household favourites and not break the bank.

Out came my food processor. Out came my huge stash of plastic (I know, I know....) pop moulds. I always lose the brightly coloured sticks that come with them and instead of tossing the set I buy large amounts of cheap wooden sticks. That way I won't have to try and wash them, let alone find them to wash them.

So basically I started with the ripe pineapple. 

The key to replicating the store bought pineapple Popsicles was using the  fibrous core. I'm not kidding. It isn't as sweet or tender, but without it the treat is too watery once frozen. So chop up all the pineapple meat and toss in the food processor or blender. 

Next, of all the sweeteners, a simple syrup of raw sugar and warm water works best for this one.  I added a wee bit of lemon juice too.

Give it a whirl. The fibrous core take a bit more to get smooth in my machine, but I also didn't want the mix to get frothy. Taste it before you pour. It needs to be sweet and citrus. Add more syrup if you need. A little salt to, if inclined. 

The mix isn't thick enough to stand the sticks up perfectly. You can stretch plastic wrap or get a tray with holes to hold them up, but I just some back in an hour and stand them up again. Sometimes I forget and the kids don't really care.
Recipe: Pineapple Popsicles, about 12 good sized ones
1 pineapple
1 pint of warm water
1 cup of raw sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup pure lemon juice

Next up, coconut creme.....
Next up, coconut; not pictured is the 1 cup of greek yogurt. 

These were easy, but the sweetener needed to be maple syrup and not sugar.   To get the right texture, the shredded coconut and yogurt were the key.

Recipe: Coconut Cream Popsicles
1 cup/can of coconut milk
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup of Greek yogurt

Strawberry, from my year old freezer stash.....

This was also easy. Here's the recipe:
4 cups of frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of warm water

Yeah. That's it. Compare that to the 5$ a box for 6 "all natural" pops. That recipe makes 10 big ones.

From the peach sauce I had canned, I got a little fancy:

Salted Butterscotch Peach Pops

Melt 1/4 cup of butter and add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Bubble until Carmel-y, melted and all saucy. Then add pint of peach butter/sauce. Salt to taste. I used 1 tablespoon. Cool and add 2 cups of apple juice or peach juice.

Makes about 10 pops.

You can make these even more fancy by layering with honey sweetened Greek yogurt.

The butterscotch peach sauce also makes amazing ice cream topping.

Here are items that make great Popsicles:
apple, pear, peach sauces and butters
fruit jams
pie fillings
frozen fruit
cheeses, like chevre and feta

and.....just a little maple syrup and salt in water, frozen up. We use that for heat stroke and heat exhaustion farm workers. It's like Gatorade or Pedilyte but better (and cheaper).

We play around a lot with different combinations every week. We try to include as much whole fruit as possible for the fiber and benefits. My kids have free access to these treats. I don't have to go broke providing them (again, store bought are between $3.50 and $6 for a box of 6) and they are super healthy. I have even been known to throw in spinach.

What are your favourites and recipes?